Advice: I want a baby, does he?

Last updated 05:00 20/06/2013

She wants a baby, but doesn't know how to approach her man about it...

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Hello there,

I know there is no easy way to ask this, but how do I approach my husband about a baby?

It's nothing revolutionary, we spoke about having a child before we were married and it has always been a subject for the future...

Yet for me, the future has arrived.

We have recently moved country and started a completely independent life, he has a great job and we have a loving environment around us. He always has his head in other places, like successful businesses, and is so focused on everything else.

Don't get me wrong, he is a fantastic and attentive husband: the nicest and most supportive guy I have ever met... Which brings me to this dilemma!

I know he would be so happy if it were to 'happen', but I realise this would be kind of sneaky and deceitful if I made it (you know) 'happen' without his full knowledge.

It will have a big impact on both our lives, but he is nearly 40 and I fear that the longer we wait, the more problems we might encounter.

Help!

Clock-watcher

Dear Clock-watcher,

This is actually an issue that many couples face, and it is good that you had some conversations about your expectations around children before you got married.

The simple fact is that you need to put it on the table. It seems you both entered the relationship with an understanding that there would be children at some point; so together you need to explore when this point will be and what the issues are for each of you.

Please don't be tempted down the sneaky route of making it 'happen'. This is too big a decision, and it would likely have an impact on you down the line if you kept this secret from him. If there are issues to be addressed it is good that they are addressed before you bring a child into your relationship.

It sounds like it is hard for you to approach this subject with him. What is it that makes it so hard? Is it hard for you to ask for what you want? Does the issue feel too big to raise and address? Does he close down when you approach the subject? Consider what your biggest fear is in raising this area with your partner. Does the potential for conflict scare you?

Whatever this fear is, what do you need in order to be able to face it? If you can identify what the barriers to having the conversation are, then you can start to work out how to address them.

A good way to start is by letting him know that you want to set aside some time in the next week or so to discuss the issue of having a child. Make an agreement about when would be good to have this conversation. Don't try to have it straight away in that moment, but give him some lead-in time to warm up to the conversation and allow him some input into when the best time will be.

You could let him know that it is important to you and that it could have some difficult edges for you both, but that you appreciate his willingness to discuss it, and that you want to work it through together.

Create a time when you're both relaxed and have time to explore the issues.  At the end of the day when you are both tired may not be the best time, but perhaps a free time on the weekend may work. Try to find a time within the next fortnight so that you know that things are moving forward.

Explore what meaning having a child has for each of you, and what it might be like to be parents together. Explore your hopes and your fears around parenting. If you take this time to explore and understand each other's points of view, you will get a richer understanding of what the real strengths and issues are for you each as individuals and as a couple. It's only after this is all on the table that you can begin to truly make a plan together about how you will proceed.

Even though a lot may be on the line it is important to keep an open mind, and keep the conversation free of any blame or accusations. Try to put the issue beside you as a couple rather than between you, so that you are collaborating together in a loving way to understand the issues more fully and to work something out together.

Once you have had this conversation, let it sit for a while. Reflect on it with each other over the next few days. Agree to think about what you have heard from one another and to check in and have another conversation in a week or so. Have that conversation in the same way and reflect again.

Give yourselves reasonable time to explore and work with the issues, but not so long that it can drift and lose focus: agree on a reasonable timeline for a decision - for example you might agree to have a decision made between you within three months. It is reasonable to expect that in that time you should know where you are heading with each other, and whether you are facing tough decisions around what to do because you each want different things, or whether you are finding a solution that you can share together.

Either way you will know more about yourselves and each other, and have grown in the process.

Best wishes for this journey,

Chris

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

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